Worst to first?
Even Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell admits he wasn’t so sure he saw that coming.
Boston won its third World Series championship in 10 years on Wednesday night, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox raised the trophy just a year after a tumultuous 69-93 season in which they finished list in the American League East.
The controversial Bobby Valentine was fired as manager the day after last season concluded, ending his one-year tenure. The Red Sox then traded with Toronto in November to get Farrell, who spent the previous two seasons as the Blue Jays manager.
“It’s been an incredible 12, 13 months, and I’m forever thankful and grateful for the opportunity in Toronto,” said Farrell, who was the Red Sox’s pitching coach when Boston last won the World Series in 2007. “A unique set of circumstances took place to come back here to the Red Sox.
“A lot of change. (General manager) Ben Cherington deserves all the credit for bringing the players in here that he has. To see it culminate in this, I can tell you this, last October, we probably didn’t know we’d be sitting here, but every effort was made to do just that.”
Last winter, Cherington brought in a number of free agents, including first baseman Mike Napoli, shortstop Stephen Drew, left fielder Jonny Gomes and closer Koji Uehera, who helped the Red Sox become an elite team again.
However, designated hitter David Ortiz, who played on all three the Red Sox’s championship teams since 2004 — before that, they last won in 1918 — was named the World Series MVP. Ortiz batted .688 (11-for-16) with eight walks against the Cardinals. He walked four times Wednesday, three times intentionally, giving him a .760 on-base percentage to go with a 1.188 slugging percentage.
Despite his otherworldly numbers, Ortiz passed the credit to Farrell.
“Like I said since Day One, a body can’t function without having a good head, and our manager is outstanding,” Ortiz said. “He showed to all of us since Day One that he was the master piece that we needed to get to this level. John, he did such a nice job with all of us. Our focus was coming in and do nothing but play baseball, which is different than last year.”
Ortiz named MVP
Ortiz was selected the Most Valuable Player of the World Series after the Red Sox beat St. Louis 6-1 in Game 6 on Wednesday night. The only player with a batting average and OBP in a single World Series was the Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hatcher, who hit .750 (9-for-12) with an .800 OBP in 1990. The four intentional walks tied a record held by six others, with Doug DeCinces the last to do it in 1979 with Baltimore. In three World Series, Ortiz has hit .455 (20-for-44), the best batting average for a player with at least 35 plate appearances.
Victorino shines in return
Right fielder Shane Victorino returned to the lineup Wednesday night for Game 6 of the World Series after missing the previous two games with lower back stiffness, and went 2-for-3 with four RBIs in the Red Sox’s clinching victory. Victorino’s three-run double in the third inning opened the scoring, and he added an RBI single with the bases loaded in the fourth. He batted three times with the bases loaded in the postseason and drove in eight runs, also hitting a grand slam in the clinching Game 6 victory over Detroit in the American League Championship Series. Victorino is 6-for-8 with the bases loaded in his career during the postseason, and his 20 RBIs in those situations are the all-time record.
Lackey join elite club
Righthanded pitcher John Lackey was the winning pitcher Wednesday night as the Red Sox clinched the World Series with a 6-1 victory over St. Louis in Game 6. He allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings, scattering nine hits, walking one and striking out five. Lackey also won the World Series clincher as a rookie for the Anaheim Angels in Game 7 in 2002 against San Francisco, holding the Giants to one run in five innings while pitching on three days’ rest. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, just two other pitchers have won clinching World Series games with two different clubs — Catfish Hunter with Oakland in 1972 and the New York Yankees in 1978 and Jimmy Key with Toronto in 1992 and the Yankees in 1996.
Ellsbury a free agent
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs a stolen base Wednesday night as the Red Sox clinched the World Series with a 6-1 victory over St. Louis in Game 6. Ellsbury went just 6-for-24 (.250) in the series and did not steal a base after leading the American League with 52 steals in the regular season. It might have been Ellsbury’s last game with the Red Sox, as he is eligible for free agency. He has spent his career in Boston, breaking in as a rookie in 2007 on a World Series-winning team.
Drew ends on high note
Shortstop Stephen Drew ended an otherwise awful postseason on a high note Wednesday night as he went 2-for-4 with a home run in the Red Sox’s clinching 6-1 victory over St. Louis in Game 6 of the World Series. Drew hit just .111 in 16 postseason games, going 6-for-54. He is eligible for free agency and likely won’t return, as the Red Sox have rookie infielder Xander Bogaerts ready to step in at shortstop.